John Coleman says his Accrington Stanley players have to ‘fight for their lives’ in each of their 15 League One games left as they take on relegation rivals Forest Green Rovers on Saturday at the Wham Stadium.
Forest Green are currently bottom of the League One table, eight points adrift of 21st place Stanley having played three games more.
The Reds have picked up six points out of the last 18 – one win in five – and Coleman knows that every point is precious in Stanley’s battle to beat the drop.
After tomorrow, the Reds play almost twice every week but he was relieved they didn’t have a midweek game this week.
“We needed a little bit of rest in the legs, it was a physically demanding week last week,” said the Reds boss.
“There was the excitement of the television game against Bolton, going down to ten men so early, scrapping away for our lives before just missing out and then having to pick ourselves up again to go against a form team in Burton and running ourselves into the ground again.
“Now hopefully we are more energised and, at home, we have to take the game to teams, to pin them in.
“We have had three clean sheets in five games which bodes well but we haven’t scored anywhere near enough goals and we have got to believe we can find our scoring form, our shooting boots and we have to be positive in our approach to the game.”
Stanley will be favourites going into Saturday’s clash as Rovers haven’t won in 13 league games.
“You get a different problem posed on Saturday,” said Coleman. “For the bulk of games over the last month, no one has given us a prayer and now everyone is saying we should win this game and some are looking at our games in hand and equating them to three points.
“They couldn’t be further from the truth. We have probably nine weeks of hard graft ahead of us and every game is a fight for your life.
“We are going to need the fans on Saturday, it’s going to be a really difficult game, I hope we can give them a ray of sunlight in a very dark season.”
Duncan Ferguson took over at FGR in January and is looking for his first win as boss.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity. He has got a famous name for his exploits in football, it will be a different challenge for him but, by all accounts, one he is embracing.
“He has probably been unfortunate he hasn’t had a win yet. He has been close but they have let a late goal in. It’s a learning curve but the opportunity will be there for him, if he makes a go at Forest Green there will be other big jobs there for him.”
Tommy Leigh is suspended; Liam Coyle was having an operation on his face today while Korede Adedoyin and Doug Tharme are back in training after lay-offs. Matt Lowe is hoping to shake off an ankle injury from the Burton game.
Michael Nottingham, Jay Rich-Baghuelou, Ryan Astley, Ethan Hamilton, Joe Pritchard and David Morgan remain long term casualties with goalkeeper Toby Savin on loan at Stevenage.
The full pre-match interview with John Coleman is available to watch on the club's official YouTube channel, CLICK HERE to find out more!